Home Behavior Pet Body Language Why Does My Cat Lick Me? Looking At Reasons Behind It

Why Does My Cat Lick Me? Looking At Reasons Behind It

Brown tabby cat. Part of the
Photo by Megan McClain on Unsplash

Wondering why your cat keeps licking you? Is it some sort of feline kiss? There are a number of reasons behind this. Let’s delve into them.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me? Here are 4 Reasons

Creating a social bond

From when they were young, their mothers not only licked them as a way of grooming the kittens, but also to show affection. So, it comes naturally to them as they grow up. You’ll find your Kitty replicating the mother cat’s behavior as a sign of affection. This habit is not limited to the pet owners. Cats will also lick other animals to show affection—though some may not take it lightly, and may become aggressive when your cat tries licking them.

Marking you as their territory

On the plus side, this makes you feel like you belong. Cats acknowledging you as theirs, and being keen on showing others that you are part of their “family” is a welcome sign. Here, the cat starts licking you to send a message out to other felines. While it’s cute, this territorial cat behavior can become problematic if you have multiple pets in the household. You can read much more in their body language than you know. 

Stress or anxiety

Here, there is excessive licking. When the cats are stressed out, or feeling anxious about something in their environment, they will lick objects and people around them. If you can identify what is in their environment causing the change in behavior, you can ease their worries by removing it. If you can’t point it out, then you should pay a visit to the local vet to try and pinpoint the issue.


When older cats lick you as they knead their paws against your body, or Kitty licking and nuzzling close to you while she purrs, it’s a remainder of when they were younger, nursing with their mothers. This basically means that they are comfortable and the cat feels safe with you.

Pain When Licking?

Sometimes you will feel pain when the cat is licking you, especially if it is excessive and on the same spot. The cat’s tongue has ‘papillae’, making the tongue feel like sandpaper on your skin. The papillae’ are barbs that are facing backwards. The barbs and claws are made of the same material. These barbs are needed as the cat grooms herself, removing the dirt and debris from her coat. If they weren’t sharp, it would be difficult to lick and groom herself.

Yawning cat. Part of the "Why Does My Cat Lick Me? Looking At Reasons Behind It" article.
Photo by Vinicius Benedit on Unsplash

How can I discourage my cat from licking me?

Here, you want to achieve this without making little Leo feel like he isn’t appreciated. For this, your best bet is to give him a distraction. You can play with the furry little guy with cat toys like balls and wands. This makes your cat see that you still want him since you’re spending time together. Food can also be a good distraction, with giving your feline friend tasty treats, though playing is still preferred to this since too many treats won’t be good for Leo’s health.



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